I hope everyone had a good and safe holiday and have a good 2012. Hopefully the weather will begin to cooperate for us powder enthusiasts, that is my wish for 2012. We have completed another bout with mild weather and will get a nice blast of winter with some sub-zero temperatures and very sub-zero wind chills between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. We will get some flurries and snow showers as well but we will not have the right combination of low level instability and moisture to produce a big terrain-induced snow event. The east coast trough responsible for the first widespread outbreak of cold will get re-enforced very briefly Thursday and with this will come some clipper snows of perhaps a few inches. Temperatures will then moderate but this mild push of weather will only give us a glancing blow.
A quick word about the rapidly evolving weather pattern. It looks initially like a sequel to the December 2011 movie but will gradually evolve a bit differently. The upper ridge in the central Pacific will become more dominant and begin to displace the polar vortex over Alaska. These are not exactly the needed ingredients for a decisive change of momentum but it is a different pattern verses December and should yield some better results. We will have to overcome a pattern that focuses much of the snow and cold on the central and northern Rocky Mountains. It will, beginning next week, be a much better period for our western powder lovers. Can we overcome a pattern dominated by much of the jet stream energy focused on the west ? Perhaps. If so, the assist will come from changes over the Atlantic where an upper ridge is expected to form south of Greenland. It is physically impossible to have a ridge located there and have another over New England. The European ensembles agree and are suggesting and interesting and more active set-up next week and beyond that includes mild weather over the southeast battling it out with colder weather trying to make a southward push from Canada. We could continue to lose these battles, as we did in December and struggle. But we need these types of battles to have any chance for big snow and I like our chances a bit better with this set-up, a more traditional La Nina long-wave pattern.
The milder weather next weekend will have the biggest impact on locations farther south. Interior New England will have a couple of above-freezing afternoons before a colder push early next week pushes temperatures back to more seasonable levels. From there, let the games begin. Between the 9th and 20th of the month, I would expect at least 3 chances for significant snows. Sleet and ice are also possible in any of these events but a good sleet event is great base building material and I would take some of that as well.